Reconciliation headed back to the House

WASHINGTON — After Democrats voted down a raft of amendments to the reconciliation bill on health care in an effort to keep it clean so it wouldn’t have to go back to the House, it’s going back to the House anyway.

The reconciliation bill, as political junkies will no doubt recall, includes both the “fix” for the recently signed health care law and student loan reforms. It’s the student loan section that tripped up the procedure, when Senate parliamentarian Alan Frumin late last night (or technically, early this morning) scotched a provision described by POLITICO as “technical changes to language about Pell Grants for low-income students.

  • Around the horn reports from the Senate’s late-night fiesta: USA Today, AP, NY Times and the Washington Post.
  • Dems held the line on amendments last night, beating back every single Republican amendment.
  • The Senate adjourned at 1:55 a.m. CDT. They reconvened at 8:45 a.m.
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar will hold a press conference this afternoon with other Democratic women senators to discuss the impact of health reform on women.
  • Since the House will have to vote again, could the public option now make a comeback? Huffington Post thinks so. It was in the House bill, and House Dem Whip Jim Clyburn says he had the votes for a public option out of just the yesses on reconciliation. Dems are somewhere between 41 and 45 openly committed “yes” votes in the Senate on the public option, depending on whose tally you believe. Could they get to 50? Would they try?
  • I asked the White House a few weeks ago if they’d sign a public option if it came to President Obama’s desk. They didn’t directly say yes, but they did note that the president has always been a fan of the public option (which sounds like a yes to me).
  • The Senate is in again this morning for more amendments, with a vote tentatively scheduled for sometime after 1 p.m. CDT. The House would pick it up after that and pass it by probably exactly the same margin they did last time (as long as there remain no major changes).
  • That last bullet point comes with a bit of hesitation on my part, because Murphy’s third law of political journalism is that as soon as you post a tentative time for something, someone will go and change it. As I type now, however, that’s the plan.
  • Finally, some interesting news out of Michigan that could have wide-reaching impact on the lawsuit to overturn the health reform law. Gov. Jennifer Granholm (a Dem who’s term-limited and always rumored to be up for a position in the Obama administration) ordered state Attorney General Mike Cox (a Republican running for governor who signed Michigan on to the repeal lawsuit) to officially intervene in support of health reform on behalf of the state of Michigan. In short: She ordered Cox to argue against his own lawsuit.
  • This could become a thing in states with split Gov/AGs. The fight over whether Minnesota will get involved is already on.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 03/25/2010 - 12:40 pm.


    As a political junkie, I am already salivating on the impending dramas entailed by your last two bullet points. It will be ghost-busters’ time!

  2. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 03/25/2010 - 01:04 pm.

    Kudos to AG Lori Swanson for refusing to rush through a lawsuit (on 10th Amendment or any other basis) before determining whether or not the bill actually is unconstitutional in any way.

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